tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN August 28, 2009 1:00am-2:00am EDT
as well as americorps. their good work goes on. we're here to report it four years after the storm. we're here to bring you a less welcomed story to light. we come to you as well, as the nation remembers senator ted kennedy. a live picture tonight of the casket bearing his body, reposing at the kennedy library, looking out over the sea he so dearly loved. we begin, however, tonight with breaking news. a story that is both miraculous and at the same time deeply horrifying and includes a bizarre jailhouse interview with the man creating that horror. this is jaycee dugard. in 1991 the year she was abducted. for all anyone believed never to be seen again alive. this was the latest computer assisted picture of how she might have looked today, 18 years later. the miracle tonight, the sketch is no longer necessary. a 29-year-old woman turned up yesterday at a san francisco parole office, the horror, she was there with a convicted sex offender and her two children. the oldest of which would have been born when she was only 14 or 15. her story of captivity is emerging right flow. the rest of her life thankfully just beginning.
randi kaye has the details. >> reporter: until now, jaycee lee dugard hadn't been seen since june 1991. she was grabbed as she walked to her bus stop in lake tahoe. her stepfather, on the driveway, saw his little girl, blond, blue eyed, all dressed in pink, disappear into a strange car. what do you remember about the day jaycee disappeared? >> the minute i saw that door fly open i jumped on my mountain bike and i was trying to get to her. my neighbor was out front watering. i told her, call 911. they had a two-minute head start. >> reporter: those two minutes turned into nearly two decades. there were searches, missing flyers and reward money. nothing brought jaycee back. not even her mother's plea. >> jaycee, if you hear mommy, i love you and want you to come home tonight. >> reporter: jaycee finally did come home, yesterday, when she suddenly walked into a police station outside san francisco with her alleged kidnappers and told officers who she was. >> my wildest dreams after 18 years. i mean, this is like the total
package, like winning the lotto. >> reporter: early this morning, jaycee's stepfather got the call he's been waiting for from jaycee's mom. they are now separated. >> she goes, are you sitting down? i said, yes. she goes, they found jaycee. and she paused for a few seconds. she goes, she's alive. so we both cried for about ten minutes, before we could talk. >> reporter: jaycee's accused kidnappers, phillip and nancy garrido are in custody, charges expected tomorrow. here's how it all unfolded. on tuesday, a security guard at the uc berkeley campus noticed mr. garrido handing out flyers with two young children. a background check showed he was a convicted sex offender on parole. when questioned by his parole officer yesterday with his wife, the two children and a woman he called allisa at his side, it turned out allisa was jaycee dugard. authorities say he admitted kidnapping her all those years ago and fathering two children with her.
even though parole officers had visited garrido's house over the years nobody ever spotted jaycee dugard. why not? >> there was a secondary backyard, screened from all around, accessed through a small, narrow tarp. her and the two children were living in a series of sheds. there was one shed entirely soundproofed. could only be opened from the outside. >> reporter: phillip garrido served time for kidnapping and rape in nevada. out on parole, he wears a gps tracking device. the children he fathered are now with their mother, jaycee. 11 and 15 years old, police say they've never been to the school or the doctor. still, they and their mom are free. >> i'm just so happy. i haven't gone there. >> reporter: where is this emotion coming from? >> years locked up. i'm an old vietnam vet that's shell shocked. how much nerves do i have? >> reporter: tears of joy, after so many years of sadness.
randi kaye, cnn, los angeles. it is hard to believe, living in the backyard for 18 years, having two children that no one knew about, never went to school, never saw a doctor. the suspect, phillip garrido is speaking out. though it's hard to imagine why. dan simon has that angle. he's outside the house in antioch, california. dan? >> reporter: hi, anderson. we're outside the house. authorities still searching it. they've been here all day long. we just saw somebody come out carrying two very large bags of evidence. meanwhile, we're told a kcra reporter, a local affiliate out of sacramento, nbc affiliate, talked to the suspect, actually as he was in jail. it was a jailhouse conversation, done over the telephone. and in that conversation, which we've obtained, you hear garrido speak. he's not exactly coherent, doesn't make a whole lot of sense. he repeatedly talks about documents, documents that he claimed to have handed over to the fbi, that if you read them,
they would contain information that, quote, which would pretty much blow the mind of every human being. take a listen. >> wait till you read that document. my life has been straightened out. wait till you hear the story of what took place at this house. you're going to be absolutely impressed, it's a disgusting thing that took place with me in the beginning. but i turned my life completely around. and to be able to understand it, you have to start there. >> dan, does this guy make any comments about his relationship with the victim? >> reporter: he does, anderson. and it's really quite disturbing when you hear this. he says that if you were to have a conversation with the victim, at least he insinuates this, that that victim would tell you that the relationship that the two had would basically have been nothing but positive. listen to this. >> you're going to find the most powerful story coming from the witness, from the victim. you wait.
if you take this a step at a time, you'll fall over backwards. in the end you'll find the most powerful, heartwarming story. >> unbelievable. heartwarming story? this is an 11-year-old girl who was kidnapped from her home. it's hard to believe that no one knew he had this hidden compound in his backyard. was there any suspicion in the neighborhood that this guy was out to lunch? >> reporter: well, in fact there was some suspicion. we talked to a neighbor just a short time ago who said he saw a couple of children living in that backyard and a couple of years ago that neighbor actually called the local sheriff's department, says the sheriff's department came out, had a conversation with garrido. but the property was never searched. that was basically the end of it. another neighbor was also suspicious because he had some conversations with garrido. garrido made a reference, something about mind control. the neighbor himself didn't really understand it, thought he was a strange person.
but i should tell you that everybody, blown away by what's happened here today, anderson? >> yeah, it's impossible to believe. imagine what this young woman and her family have been through these past 18 years. dan, appreciate the report. we know others have lived through this kind of nightmare before. in 2002 you'll remember elizabeth smart was kidnapped from her home in salt lake city. the couple who took smart held her for nine months before they were arrested and she was reunited with her family. elizabeth smart and her father ed smart joined me earlier today. here's the "360" interview. elizabeth, ed, thanks so much for being with us. elizabeth, from your own experiences, what do you think jaycee is going through right now? >> for me, i felt relief, happiness and i was just excited to be home and back with the people that i know loved me and cared for me and wants what's best for me. i would think that jaycee is probably feeling something along those lines as well. >> and, ed, from a father's
perspective, what was it like getting that call, being told that, you know, after so long your child is alive? >> the end of the nightmare. just, you know, it was very surreal. the moment of finding that it was really her was just, like, this one miracle in life that i could have. it just was overwhelming and just joyful. >> and elizabeth, that reunion, obviously, incredibly emotional, obviously incredibly joyful. there's got to be a lot of ups and downs with it. can you talk a little bit about what that's like? >> well, for me, it was just like overwhelming happiness, because, i mean, i was out of that terrible situation. i was with my family and my friends. and i thought life was just going to resume back to what it had been before. i was just very, very happy and
then, of course, i wondered what was going to happen, what my captors were going to be, where they were going to be kept, what was going to happen to them. i mean, there was certainly some questions i had. >> what do you think the reunion is like for this young woman, jaycee, who's been away for so long? >> when we were transferred out to the salt lake police department, one of my biggest concerns is that law enforcement would try to immediately get the full story from elizabeth. and i'm hopeful that jaycee will not immediately have to go through that because i mean, that's basically reliving the whole nightmare of the time she was gone. and now is the time to rejoice, to be happy, to reconnect as a family, you know, the other will come and it has to come but right now, it's just a time to
live and feel the joy and happiness that life can bring. >> a lot of joy in that family tonight. we'll have more with elizabeth and her father, next, as new details in this remarkable and troubling case continue to emerge. let us know what you think about this, live chat under way at ac360.com. also ahead tonight, senator ted kennedy's journey home. the sounds and sights of an emotional day and a look at what comes next.
the people ted kennedy represented for half a century came to see him today, came to say good-bye, paid their respects, making their way past the casket tonight at the john f. kennedy library, a library he tirelessly helped build. as tom foreman reports, his journey here from hyannis port took him through the places he loved, past the people who loved him. >> reporter: ted kennedy left hyannis port for the last time in the hands of a military escort, under the eyes of the family he loved and in the hearts of voters he served for nearly half a century. >> he wanted to make the world a better place and make a difference. >> reporter: tamara demylo waited hours like so many along the 70-mile motorcade route, to see the he was winding through the streets of boston that the senator knew and where he was known so well. >> as an african-american woman, i can only honor this man. he didn't back up.
he wasn't scared to confront the powers that be. >> i just feel sad. sad, a little overwhelmed. >> reporter: the procession passed landmarks named for kennedy family members, the senator's office, too. nathaniel hall where a movement for independence took shape in the 1700s, the bell rang 47 times, once for each year ted kennedy was a u.s. senator. >> we wanted to turn out and pay tribute to the senator. he's done so much for organized labor and for all labor. organized or not, for all working people. we thought it fitting to come out and stand out today with the procession. >> i just wanted them to get to see a little bit of this and see what they meant. it feels like the end of an era. >> reporter: finally, the hearst arrived at john kennedy's presidential library. friday there will be a memorial. saturday, president obama, past presidents and dozens of his
fellow senators will attend a private funeral service at a nearby church. but this evening the kennedys welcome the public here. thousands of citizens saying good-bye to a man most never met, but will never forget. tom foreman, cnn, washington. senior political analyst david gergen had the privilege of knowing senator kennedy, so did john king. as a correspondent and before that, as a constituent. john spoke with members of the family today. he and david now join us. david, a dramatic day, thousands of people lining the streets from cape cod to boston to pay tribute. what did you see today? what stood out? >> i was at the hyannis port, there where the motorcade began, anderson. as teddy kennedy paid farewell to his home and to leave behind a place, a home, a compound, if you would, that was so meaningful to him in life. i think back to franklin roosevelt to how he once said everything in him grew stronger when he went back to hyde park.
the same thing was true with teddy kennedy as he went back to hyannis port. today as he left some 87 members of his family in buses and cars, by the count of the press, there were people all along the streets. neighbors who turned out with their dogs and their kids and their bikes. it was a sense of neighborhood and losing a neighbor that i think was quite moving as the motorcade began and now has this next stage in boston where john king is. >> john, you spoke to senator kennedy's wife, vicki, his nephew, rfk jr. i want to play some of what he said about his uncle. let's play that. >> i think teddy ultimately had a wonderful life and he was just a naturally, buoyant happy person. he felt the pain, he was engaged in his life. >> john, what are the events over the next several days? >> reporter: anderson, let me start with the event still going
on. there are thousands waiting. the doors are supposed to close in more than a half hour. it will not. they will keep it open. there are thousands waiting. this is the most diverse crowd i've seen in my life, young and old, black and white, brown and asian, many in wheelchairs and walkers. they're coming to pay their final tribute. they can do that for the rest of tonight. there's more time tomorrow. then there's an invitation only catholic wake, if you will. it will be a memorial service for senator kennedy in which the family says it will be a celebration of his life. the funeral mass is on saturday. the president of the united states will deliver the final eulogy there. anderson, as the people of massachusetts and some from outside of massachusetts, paying tribute now to the senator who severed the state for 47 years. one last footnote, you heard from robert kennedy jr. there. he was the senator's nephew. he is still about 40 yards from me. he has been out here for three hours now, shaking hands and thanking all the people who are still streaming inside to bid senator kennedy farewell. anderson? >> david, vice president biden said perhaps the senator's death
would be a catalyst to push through health care reform. do you see that as a possibility? certainly that's something some folks would not be comfortable with. >> anderson, as much as his friends would like to see it, right now, i don't. i think that senator kennedy's presence was missed in the last few weeks, i think we'd be much closer, as john mccain had said, to a bipartisan agreement had he been there to help negotiate that. now there are democrats who want to rally round. i don't see much evidence of republicans coming around. the divisions in the country remain very deep, town halls just in the last couple days have continued to be highly contentious. and i do think there's a window for president obama to rally democrats and he can begin doing that a little bit in his eulogy on saturday. but most importantly, when president obama comes back to washington, he's got a small window to rally democrats in the name of teddy kennedy and maybe he can move it. but i don't see the country
moving this way. i think it will be up to president obama to assert his leadership. >> john, what about the succession to senator kennedy? will the law be changed to -- so that the governor can essentially just appoint somebody in interim? >> reporter: it's still an open question. the governor has said he would like to see it happen. after being quite hesitant about it. they are reaching out to key members of the legislature. if they change the law, anderson, what would happen is you would get a temporary senator and a special election. the current law says the special election cannot be held for five months. many in massachusetts and especially the late senator kennedy did not want that the vacuum because of the big pressing debate about health care and other pressing issues. i will tell you this as a footnote, if the law is changed, that's a big if still, remember that there is growing conversation in massachusetts democratic circles that some will try to convince the senator's wife, his widow, to take the temporary appointment for the five months. she has said she's not interested in running for his
seat. there would be pressure on her, if, big if, they change the law. >> david gergen, john king, appreciate it. thank you very much. a long day for both of you, i know. a difficult day. coming up next on "360," more of our breaking news, a young girl, kidnapped at age 11, found now 18 years later. more of our conversation with elizabeth smart and her father, their reaction to the reappearance of this kidnapped girl 18 years after she was stolen.
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now. police have arrested a convicted sex offender and his wife for the kidnapping. authorities also say that dugard and her abductor had two children and the suspect kept the kids and jaycee in sheds hidden in the backyard for 18 years. never saw a doctor, never went to school. deeply disturbing stuff. as details unfold, we'll learn more about what this woman endured for so long. before the break, we spoke with elizabeth smart saen her father, ed smart. elizabeth was taken from her home in 2002 and held captive for nine months. we want to hear her reaction, more of my interview with elizabeth and ed smart. it was a police officer, a campus police officer who was kind of very on zer vant, who started this ball rolling which ultimately led to jaycee being discovered. and yet, what we've now learned is that she was living in a backyard for 18 years, her children never went to school, never went to see a doctor. do you think the public is on zer vent enough, questioning enough of things they see? >> i think that there are some people -- in elizabeth's case,
there were two people that saw her at the same time. so i think a lot of people are very observant. i think that sometimes we need to put ourselves out. and if we feel uncomfortable about something, you know, you might look stupid but it's better to check than to not. i think that there are other children out there like this that want to be found. and we just need to work on how we feel. in this scenario, i don't know all of the details on it. but you would think that, you know, somebody would notice a tent in a backyard. it sounds like it must have been remote or -- it's hard to second guess anyone. i wouldn't want to try to. it's important to be observant. i think that's key. >> elizabeth, what's your advice for jaycee? >> i would tell her to just relax and enjoy her family and
spend some time reconnecting. and maybe if it's possible, to think back and think of things that she used to enjoy doing with her family, and maybe going out and doing them again and finding new things she'd want to do with her family. one of the things i liked the best was when, after i came home, my family we went on a vacation and, no offense to any media or anything, but we didn't do anything. we spent time together as a family, which was very -- like it was the best thing i could have done. >> elizabeth, you would agree with your dad that it's important to let her take as much time as she needs and, you know, tell her story or not in her own way to her family, to her loved ones? >> yes, i would agree with my dad. i mean, for me it's something very personal, and i don't just talk about it all the time with everybody.
and so i would think maybe she feels the same way. if she chooses never to say anything about it, i think it should always be her decision. and there are a lot of people that are out here that love her and support her in what she decides to do. a big thing that i try to stress in the section that i participated in writing was, to set goals for yourself, to continually be moving forward and continuing on with your life and not letting like this horrible event just take over and consume the rest of your life, because we only have one life. and it's a beautiful world out there and there's so many things to learn and to see and to grow in. and i just would encourage her to find, you know, different passions in life and to
continually push forward and learn more and reach more for them and not to look behind. because there's a lot out there. >> it's something that happened to you. it's not something -- it's not who you are. >> right. >> obviously, this is extraordinarily good news for everyone involved in this story. and it gives hope to countless other families out there who are still waiting for their loved ones to either be found or in one way or another. is it -- i mean, i guess some would say it gives false hope to some people because many people will never find their loved ones, yet there are cases like this, like elizabeth's case, like jaycee's case. so i mean, it's a hard thing. hope is important to hold on to, isn't it? >> it is. you know, a lot of people during those nine months said, how can you believe she's still out there? you're crazy or, you know, any number of comments, but, you
know, i had this impression that elizabeth was still out there and we never gave up hope. that's not to say that there weren't doubts in our mind, but for this family, i've heard today that a lot of them kept on hoping and, you know, here it is. it's real. a miracle has happened. >> so many others are waiting as well and hoping as well. >> absolutely. >> ed and elizabeth, i appreciate you being on with us tonight. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> remarkable day. we are in new orleans, four years after hurricane katrina hit. the anniversary is this saturday, in case you've forgotten and i hope you haven't. we'll give you a tour of the city and show you where there's progress been made. there is so much progress to show you. we get that tour with resident james carville who will walk us around. if you have a question for james text your questions to 22360. we're here in musician's village.
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underdogs. this is new orleans habitat for humanity. they have been rebuilding homes here, 72 new homes in this area so far. four years ago tonight, on saturday night, this week is the four-year anniversary. the country watched this city as a massive hurricane zeroed in on the gulf coast. this saturday marks the anniversary of katrina's landfall. we all know what happened next. we all know how force of nature collided with human error, government indifference and a catastrophe was caused. today, new orleans continues on its road to recovery. the city is back. the city is alive. the numbers are encouraging. the city has recovered 77% of its pre-storm population. for jobs and occupied homes it's 70%. challenges, of course, remain, like public school enrollment is half what it was before katrina, crime, low-income housing but there is hope and there is progress. there are hard-working people who every day are making progress and a big difference. people like those here at musicians village, habitat for
humanity, americorps, 72 homes in this one neighborhood. they need affordable houses. the idea was started by harry connick jr. and branford marsalis. they're behind the project. questions in the city still linger of what happened four years ago in the wake of katrina. a look at vigilantes, private militias, some taking the law into their own hands. why did they do that and are police actually investigating? tonight, gary tuchman went looking for answers in this troubling report. >> reporter: listen to these shocking comments made by hurricane katrina survivors days after the storm. >> we shot them. they were looters. >> reporter: is this true? we came to new orleans to find the people in this documentary shot by danish filmmakers and to talk to this man who said he saw three armed white men, one of whom pointed his gun at him. >> he said i'm going to [ bleep ] get you.
>> reporter: darnell harrington who said he was walking to a ferryboat in algiers point was shot in the neck. >> i managed to get up off my feet. hit me in the back. i fell and hit the ground. >> reporter: his life was saved by this surgeon who says his hospital typically gets one or two gunshot victims over a 30-day period but in just the few days following katrina -- how many gunshot wounds did you get? >> six to ten. >> reporter: that's unusual? >> yes. >> reporter: the doctor says half of the gunshot victims died. clearly people were taking matters into their own hands. there was no shortage of panic, paranoia and lawlessness in new orleans. so there were many in algiers point who took extreme measures, measures they say had nothing to do with race but security. is it fair to say in your neighborhood, you organized basically a private militia? >> private militia, neighborhood watch. >> reporter: but a neighborhood watch with dozens of scores of guns? >> yes. >> reporter: he told me he and his neighbors had a huge number of weapons at the ready to keep criminals away. and that some of his neighbors had been firing shots.
>> i used the second amendment. i beared arms to protect myself. i'll do it again. >> reporter: algiers point residents were very blunt on the documentary. >> that was our sign down the street we had. .12 gauge shotgun. >> reporter: in the documentary, they appear to be drinking beer while making these comments. >> it's like pheasant season in south dakota. if it moved, we shot it. >> reporter: four years later we found wayne janik at his home. you said, quote, it was like pheasant season in south dakota. if it moved, you shot it. >> taken completely out of context. first of all, they said what was the noise like over here? i said, i grew up in south dakota. i said the first day of pheasant season everybody shoots at anything that's moving. >> reporter: the inference was that you shot at somebody here. >> which is totally untrue. >> reporter: did you say that because you were drinking? >> i don't know, i don't remember the interview. >> reporter: were you bragging? >> probably.
>> reporter: nathan roper was also interviewed in the documentary. >> you had to do what you had to do. if you had to shoot somebody, you had to shoot somebody. >> reporter: we happened to run into nathan roper in an algiers point barn. >> never asked me if i shot anyone. >> reporter: i don't think they said you shot anyone. you said if you had to, you'd do it. >> if i had to. if they were polka dot, green, yellow, white, black, if they were on my property causing harm to my property. food, i gave plenty of food away to people that walked -- >> reporter: you would have shot someone who came on your property? >> if they were coming to harm me, absolutely. >> reporter: that didn't happen? >> no, that didn't happen. >> reporter: vinnie perrell who wasn't in the danish documentary, says he almost fired at somebody. >> one i actually forewarned them. i said, look, i know you're there. i'm going to count to three and then i'm going to shoot. one, two -- no, don't shoot and you hear footsteps and running off. >> reporter: police and the military were nowhere to be seen in those chaotic days. four years have gone by.
but what you're about to hear from the man who was shot is simply stunning. how many times has the new orleans police talked to you about this case? >> zero. none. >> reporter: never? >> never. >> reporter: a.c. thompson is a journalist for a nonprofit news organization called pro-public ka. he's been investigating the case for about two years and wrote about it in "the nation" magazine. >> across the city, people died of gunshot wounds and other violence. and it seems that there was no real effort by law enforcement to figure out what happened to these people. >> reporter: after thompson's article this past december, police said they would look into the allegations. but when cnn contacted them, they declined to make any comment. now the fbi is on the case, interviewing darnell harrington and people who stayed behind in algiers point. >> at the time, after the storm, i thought this would be considered a neighborhood hero. i felt like a vigilante, a thug. >> reporter: what are you? >> i'm somebody who is going to protect my home. i don't care what it takes. i'm going to protect my home. >> reporter: darnell harrington
doesn't know who attacked him. >> i believe those guys were hunting black people. >> reporter: he believes there are people in this tight-knit community who do know. >> have they seen that documentary? >> if the brass is watching cnn, we know at the very least they've seen some of the highlights. officially we don't know. they've had every opportunity to talk with us. they've made a point, they've made it clear they don't want to talk to us about it. we don't know what the reasons are. we don't know if they are officially having an investigation. we do know the fbi is investigating this case. >> gary, appreciate it. thanks very much. coming up next, a look at new orleans four years after the storm. james carville and i took a tour of the city. he showed me his new orleans. text your questions to james and about the city's reese coverry and to douglas brinkley to "ac 360." send your questions to ac360.com or text to 22360. we'll listen to more of the music live from musician's village. ♪
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community facilities and housing like this musician's village. as we mentioned earlier, population is back to nearly 80% pre-storm levels. some people are returning, others are moving here for the first time like the ultimate washington insider, james carville, a louisiana native along with his wife marlee matalin moved back to just outside the belt >> there's a really trendy bar here. >> on freret street, james way. carville sees signs of growth all around him. >> the interesting thing about freret street is, this got a good bit of water. everything after the storm was wiped out. seven blocks that way, some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the southern united states. seven blocks that way, some of the poorest, more dangerous neighborhoods. a little bit of a sense i have is how freret street goes, so goes new orleans. it's a place that it can make a
comeback and it is. >> reporter: the freret street gym was the first business to re-open in this neighborhood after the storm. father kevin wyles, an avid boxer is president of new orleans' lee yell la university. how is the gym. >> it's doing very well, in terms of the private sector. he had three feet of water in here. he got in after the storm, cleaned it up and got it open again. you see it in shops and restaurants all over the place. >> reporter: areas that got the most water like the lower ninth ward have been slow to rebuild, in much of new orleans signs of the storms are hard to find. more restaurants are open here now than before katrina. carville took us to eat at pasquales minali. i've never been in a city where people eat more. if they're not eating they're talking about what they just ate or what they're about to eat. >> we'll talk about where we're going for supper while we're eating lunch. i always have an appetite.
it's a decision that you just don't make off the top. it comes with a lot of thought. >> reporter: after lunch we drive to what was once a rundown housing project. it's now being rebuilt into a mixed income neighborhood. >> this has the potential of being a real substantial story. there could be an african-american there, hispanic there, an asian there. that's the kind of city people that live here, we want to live in that kind of city. >> reporter: in past years when i came here after the storm you didn't get sense of energy and seeing results. this time you're actually kind of seeing what the money has been spent on. you're starting to see things being built. seeing schools being fixed. >> we're doing better. you're starting to finally see it. it took me the understanding that it just can't happen overnight. it takes a while for this stuff to build up. >> reporter: there's no doubt
daunting problems remain. crime, infrastructure, lack of affordable housing, access to health care, but carville is on mystic. the progress is real, money is being spent. city pulses with life. >> when you're living in new orleans, you have to understand, you don't just live in a city. it's a culture. we have our own food, music, funerals, our own social structure, architecture, literature. >> reporter: it's a completely unique place. >> it's completely unique. it's not just a city, it's a culture. people, we don't -- we admire what atlanta has done. we admire what denver has done. we don't want to be atlanta and denver. we want to be new orleanian. >> james carville is here now along with douglas brinkley who joins us from austin, texas. appreciate both of you being here. the city, there's progress all around. there's no doubt about it. >> people were impatient. it takes a while but you can feel the steam being built up from reconstruction efforts and people moving back. the ngos, the habitat for humanity, the businesses are starting to open up again.
so, you know, you can feel the momentum starting to move now. it's taken a while but it does feel a lot better. >> doug, you say it's a tale of two cities, though? >> first off, we have to launch james' campaign for mayor. he should be the next mayor of new orleans. his return has been -- his return made a lot of people happy when he came back to louisiana. but in general, i think -- >> a lot of restaurants happy, too. >> that's right. but look, i think there's still some serious problems that the city has to face. first off, a lot of families that have wanted to return haven't. some neighborhoods are still in ghastly decline and disrepair. if you go to the lower ninth you won't find a 75% return rate. it will be lower, something more around 25%, for example. i think a lot of the historic african-american communities are still struggling greatly. and there's some problems that can only be addressed on a national level and not just money for infrastructure.
because fema is doing a much better job and the new director, craig few fugate is getting very high marks. i worry about the wetlands. we talked about coastal erosion four years ago. we are talking about louisiana losing a football field of land a day. this isn't changing. that's an environmental reality that louisiana and the country has to face, the disappearing wetlands. but it is exciting to see four years later so much progress and optimistic spirit reigning in large swaths of new orleanians. >> crime is still a huge problem here as well. >> yeah, it is. we addressed it before, we can address it again. it's not something we can't solve. in fact, there's some evidence it's starting to get slightly better. there's a ton of work to do. doug is right. the coastal erosion thing is the greatest ongoing environmental disaster maybe in the world right now. that's a great opportunity, because we can develop
technology and we can begin to address this, as we must. he's also right in many areas of the lower ninth, lakeview and other places that got a lot of water. again, it's a function of how much water you got. freret street are places of a success story. these places that got a lot of water, they're coming back. you can feel momentum. i think we're moving in the right direction, finally. >> we have a text question from one of our viewers. vanessa wants to know, can the levees sustain another hurricane like katrina? >> i don't believe so. i don't they think can sustain a category 4 or 5. i don't think enough work's been done. senator mary landrieu has been trying to hammer on the army corps of engineer and keep a consciousness. you have to remember, new orleans' part of katrina, unlike mississippi which often unfortunately gets forgotten in their recovery, it was a man-made disaster in new orleans with the lego levees built by
the u.s. army corps of engineers. a lot of the flood protection has been improved but it's an ongoing fight. and my worry is that our nation just kind of says, things are up and running. new orleans is back. a kind of boosterism sets in when there's still some deep problems. i'm not convinced if a category 4 or 5 storm hit that the levees are going to hold up. i don't think they've been revamped enough. i think we have to keep our focus on how can we build like the dutch have done in the netherlands, a category 5 sustainable levee system in the gulf south and in new orleans area in particular. >> doug is right. i will describe the levees as better than it was when katrina happened. and it's getting better. he's also right about the netherlands. my wife and i just went to the netherlands this summer and toured their flood protection facilities. we can learn a lot from what they did. but progress has been made. but the combination of coastal erosion or category 4, 5 storm, yeah, we would have some real
problems. but they're raising a lot of levees around here. there's a lot of construction going on. and i think i can say confidently, it is better and it's getting better, but we can't lose our focus. that's a fact. >> james carville, we appreciate your tour today. thanks for the great good as well. doug brinkley as well. thank you very much. i appreciate you adding in your expertise tonight. >> the music's great. >> it is. unbelievable. >> they're playing their hearts out. >> congrats on the new book, doug. >> we'll have more of that in just a moment. erica hill has a "306 bulletin." in the meantime, more al and the underdogs. all the folks from habitat for humanity and americorps. ♪ he ran off with his secretary! she's 23 years old! - oh, come on. - enough! you get half and you get half. ( chirp ) team three, boathouse? ( chirp ) oh yeah-- his and hers.
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let's head up to new york and get the latest stories with erica hill with the "360" bulletin. >> trorm watch for top dal storm danny in the area. the national hurricane center says the storm is expected to continue moving. tracking map shows danny brushing north carolina's coast early saturday before heading into new england later in the day. we'll keep an eye on it for you here at cnn. back to school with swine flu. colleges across country reporting spikes in the number of students with suspected cases of the h1n1 virus. health experts say hundreds more could fall ill if the virus winds its way through campus. the cdc recommends students with flu-like symptoms stay home from class. in chicago, a new study from city health officials find swine flu infected 14 times as many children as adults over the age of 60. they looked at numbers from april to july. officials do say they suggest prevention efforts should focus on children.
also tonight, new details on the murdered swimsuit model whose body was found in a suitcase. police in california say they found evidence of a struggle in jasmine fiore's car including blood. the suspect reality show contestant ryan jenkins committed suicide. michael vick back on the field tonight, playing in his first nfl game since being released from prison. vick's new team, philadelphia eagles hosting jacksonville. despite a small group of protesters outside, vick had a warm welcome from the crowd. finally, just what's missing from this picture? lovely family outing on their bikes. the president, taking a bike ride around martha's vineyard today. you may have noticed he's not wearing a helmet. we have a close-up photo where you can see more closely. sasha and malia had the proper head gear on. the president not so much. white house spokesman bill burton said he doesn't know why the president wasn't wearing a helmet, noting he usually does. anderson knows i always give him a hard time about not wearing his helmet.
there you go. >> i know, i don't. >> give the president a break on this. >> no. it's not safe. >> there are no cars, no traffic. >> you can still fall and hit your noggin. >> coming up, all right, "the shot" is next. music from new orleans, a live performance for "360." that's ahead, we'll be back. ♪ reading about washington these days... i gotta ask, what's in it for me? i'm not looking for a bailout, just a good paying job. that's why i like this clean energy idea. now that works for our whole family. for the kids, a better environment. for my wife, who commutes, no more gettin' jerked around on gas prices... and for me, well, it wouldn't be so bad if this breadwinner